Majka Burhardt’s ‘More’ Takes an Unflinching Look at Climbing and Motherhood

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This article was first published by Climbing.

Before 2016—the year that everything changed—Majka Burhardt spent nearly two decades building a life most of us dream of. She was a professional athlete and international alpine guide. She was paid to travel and climb all over the world. She had her name on dozens of first ascents on rock and ice alike, and she was starting a new conservation nonprofit based in Mozambique. It was all perfect. Except for one thing: she was 39 years old, and she wanted a family.

In her new memoir, More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood, Burhardt details just how painful it was to choose between maintaining the status quo she’d always dreamed of and reaching out for something that terrified her. In 2015, she and her partner, IFMGA guide Peter Doucette, decided to have a child. They got more than they bargained for: In 2016, Burhardt gave birth to twins.

(Photo: Courtesy Simon & Schuster)

For the next five years, Burhardt kept detailed notes of every high and low, every heartbreak, every new milestone, every all-nighter, and every parking-lot sob. In an effort to battle the loneliness she felt—and to create the blueprint for motherhood that she wished her mother had left for her—she documented everything. Her book knits all these notes together into a flowing patchwork of transcribed diary entries, audio notes, and letters.

Because these journal entries and letters are so intimate, the book takes a little while to get into. Some scenes feel so private and so vulnerable that you feel you should look away. But therein lies the book’s power. Unlike most memoirs, More is not told through the rose-colored glasses of retrospect. It’s told present-tense, broadcast straight from the moment. The prose is heartfelt, raw, and unflinchingly honest.

The book…


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